Simone Graves


I am the shell of a girl.
Evening use to be my favorite,
When we'd play out in the yard and you'd watch us from the lawn chair.
I remember those times I felt normal,
Like I didn't need to grow
Like I was content with the dirt on my feet
And the scooter that took me faster
And the laughs from my siblings.
I was content with the word 'family'.

It's like the shouts in the kitchen meant nothing.
It's like the tearing of paper and screams from my mother were gone for as long as I could keep the sun from going down.

Do kids ever heal into adults?
Or do we all carry this around pretending we can handle all the additional growing pains?

Parents teach their children to shut down their emotions.
I've learned to not let it get under my skin
Creating this shell of a girl I thought I was okay with.
I've convinced you all I'm okay
But I'm wandering around now with a knot in my stomach crushing these cigarette butts under my heel as the sun finally sets.

The screaming never ended.
I've escaped from your hell,
But I still watch you burn.
Am I doomed to the same fate as you?
Because all that you learned from your parents, too, were to shut down your emotions.
But didn't you know you would explode?
I'm learning as I go.
I never want to end up quite like you,
But family curses linger like the wine on your lips, and like the anger that's so easily flipped on.
I still cower in your shadow.

I'm still reeling from the honesty I shoved down, it comes back up.
I just don't want to remember how it felt to love the evening.
But most of all, I never wanted to know how it felt when the sun finally set on you.

Topic(s) of this poem: family

Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 23, 2016

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